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Southerners left without water expect restoration

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - It's rainy season alright and in the last week Guam has hit a new record: 10 inches of rain. And with all the rain saturating our island, residents have not only had to deal with getting wet but the torrential downpour has left low lying areas flooded, homes in ruin, vehicles submerged and a few of our island's southern villages with no water. Concerned with the situation Governor Eddie Calvo paid a visit to some of the affected areas.

"Though GWA is outside my realm of central authority, I am concerned to have a water outage for a prolonged period like this in many parts of the island particularly the south, this is a concern to me," he said.

GWA held a conference this morning apologetically explaining just how all this rain led to water outages. While Ugum produces 2 million gallons of water a day the intense rainfall threatened to push Ugum beyond its capacity. According to Guam Water Works General Manager Martin Roush the Ugum Water Plant was taken offline Thursday as a safety precaution and water was being fed to the south from the northern wells.

But shutting down Ugum did not lead to the water outages being experienced by several villages. He says that shutting down Ugum was the right course of action and if it wasn't for the unexpected there would not have been outages.

So what was the culprit? Roush says it was an earthquake. "We did lose water to south and we lose water feeding the south and we had a plan in place to serve the south in a major storm event and we put our plan and it was working on Thursday then on Thursday night we had an earthquake that broke a couple of water lines," he said. The supply from the North to the south because we have a well fill in the north was interrupted and we had to do the line repairs that kind of hiccupped our system and then we had some cascading effects that caused the water outages in the south," he said.

Roush says it was a combination of the storm, power outages, and ultimately the earthquake that flushed their major storm event plan of action down the drain. "But the important thing is even though we have an earthquake and we have a storm we believe if we have better planning in the future we can surely maintain the south during a storm event and unforeseen failures," he said.

Today Yona, Santa Rita, Inajaran, Merizo and Umatac still were left with no water but according to Roush they anticipate water to be fully restored tonight by 7pm. 

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